East London Regional Distribution Centre

The art of re-appropriation

Royal Mail had outgrown their existing East London site and had already made a commitment to vacate the premises. A fast construction period and some lateral thinking were required to enable a swift and smooth transition to the new facility.

The new site comprises four buildings, housing a Distribution Centre, a Vehicle Services Workshop and general office accommodation. Smaller but equally important facilities include a fuel island, weighbridge and vehicle wash area.

 We were inspired us to re-use existing elements to save time.

The tight programme constraints heavily influenced the design strategy. We were inspired to re-use existing elements to save time. The Distribution Centre cleverly utilises the portal frame of an original warehouse. The retained structure was strengthened and clad with a combination of built-up and composite cladding panels. A new built-up roof system was also added, re-using the purlins from the original warehouse.

This partially preserved element of the build served as the cross-docking building with 22 dock levellers. The other main buildings were pre-fabricated off site and put together in less than three weeks. Modular structures were used for ancillary accommodation.

The project was completed well within the strict timeframe and achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’, which was required as a condition of the planning permission.

Client:Royal Mail Group
Service: Architecture
Sector: Industrial and Distribution